We’ve known for some time now that Andrei Kirilenko has been unhappy in Utah. We’ve even heard about how his poor, Kobe-like mentality has him demanding a trade. So, we knew that things were bad, but we just didn’t really believe all the hype, until AK-47 said that he’d be willing to skip out on his contract’s remaining $63 million. That’s when realized that he really friggin’ hates that team.
According to a translation by The Salt Lake Tribune, Kirilenko said in an interview with the Russian newspaper Sport Express that he is prepared to go without the money remaining on his NBA contract to get away from the Jazz.
According to the Tribune, Kirilenko is quoted in the Russian newspaper as saying: “I just want to explain to everybody what I think and feel and that I could sacrifice my career with the NBA. The only thing I’m not prepared for is if I’m told, ‘Andrei, we want you to stay anyway.’ I’m sure then the next season would be a repetition of the previous one, and what will the fans say then? How could you possibly rely on a player who wants to leave?”
Kirilenko, who is under contract through the 2010-11 season, told Sport Express he thinks the chances of his contract being voided are small. But he remains steadfast in his desire to leave Utah, even if it means playing on a worse team, NBA or otherwise.
“I have never been unfair and I don’t want to enjoy something that I don’t deserve,” Kirilenko told Sport Express. “Big money is obviously good, but I am prepared to make less. The size of my salary doesn’t mean that much for me. The main thing is to play with a spark.
Kirilenko went on to say that he’d like to play somewhere in Russia, but at this point it sounds like he’d be willing to play in Guatemala if it meant he didn’t have to be around Jerry Sloan anymore. A fine or suspension could be around the corner if Kirilenko fails to show up for camp on October 1.
I would like to be where I am needed and right now I feel that my country needs me,” Kirilenko told Sport Express. “But I cannot exclude some European clubs. Trust me, I really am prepared to leave NBA. It certainly does not mean that I’m dying to go to Europe. I’m just ready.”
“Last year, we had a conversation with him,” Kirilenko told Sport Express “and Sloan said, ‘Andrei, if you don’t like something about the way I conduct training you could always break the contract with the Jazz.’ So that’s exactly what I want to do now!
We love the added emphasis Andrei put on the last sentence. It almost as if he’s convinced that he’s talking to Sloan and not some Russian reporter. Settle down a bit, Andrei, there’s no need to yell. Maybe now would be a good time to break out your `free tail’ pass and release some of that frustration that’s been mounting.
[KSL.com]: Kirilenko `ready’ to leave NBA, $63M contract